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TNM launches solar BTS

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

Malawi’s frequent electricity blackouts has forced one of the country's mobile network service operators, TNM, to move to solar power for some of its base transmitter stations (BTSs) that used to run on diesel.
The company also says the launch means the beginning of the company's effort to reduce carbon footprint and contribute towards a greener environment.
TNM Chief Operations Officer Eric Valentine said the switch to solar is helping the mobile operator save between 60 to 90 per cent fuel usage per site to service BTSs in areas not accessible by Escom power.
He said so far a total of nine BTSs have been switched to solar. Valentine added that the solar energy alternative is minimizing TNM’s carbon footprint by reducing emissions and noise that is generated by the use of fossil fuels.
“At TNM, we are firm advocate of environmental sustainability and realizing the carbon footprint that diesel generators create we decided to invest and switch to smart power hence the move to solar because previously all BTSs that had no link to the national power grid though ESCOM ran 24 hours using fossil fuels, particularly diesel,” he said.
He said with growth in both TNM network and customer’s base, TNM network has been planned and implemented with the needs of community and the environment in mind.
The BTSs are responsible for providing network coverage for customer’s mobile phones and enable mobiles services to be transmitted to user terminals within coverage radius.